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Reviews: Berlioz: Symphonie fantastique - RPO/Mackerras

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Reviews: 2

Review by Daland February 23, 2005 (8 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This bargain-priced recording confirms Sir Charles Mackerras's reputation as an outstanding interpreter of French music. His gripping account of Berlioz's masterpiece is faster than most other readings, but with one exception: the eerie March to the Scaffold. Here he takes almost two minutes longer than Gergiev or Järvi, but manages to keep the tension at fever pitch from beginning to end. The same goes for the final movement where the powerful brass section comes fully into its own. The rhytmically tricky Roman Carnival overture is a most welcome fill-up. The RPO play with great precision and verve. While the sound picture is more generalized than on the rival SACD recordings, the surround effect is nothing short of spectacular.

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Review by hanser April 15, 2005 (7 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
The Interpretation is OK, althought nothing special. I especially like the Roman Carnival.
But the (multichannel) sound is a real letdown: It sounds as if a RBCD has been processed through a Dolby prologic II decoder: the surround effect is almost too strong and sound very fake. The whole sound picture is muddy. After a while I was suffering listening fatigue, almost like after bad CDs. I guess sometimes you only get what you pay for, which was not much in this case (5 , jpc).

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